A Few Cups Too Many

My boyfriend’s not much of a coffee fan.  He likes a good, hot mug every morning, but that’s it.  My family and childhood friends, on the other hand, are big coffee drinkers.  They’re from New Jersey and New York, where coffee is not only a means to wake up; it’s an essential socializing accessory.  After a few months together, I brought my boyfriend to meet them.  We spent a day visiting different people in their apartments, and every time, they offered us coffee.  My boyfriend was too polite to say no.  He even ended up having an extra mug when one of my friends was disappointed that the pot hadn’t been finished.  The day went well: my loved ones loved my boyfriend.  We started to walk back to the friend’s place we were staying at, and I can only imagine my boyfriend felt relieved.  That is until he suddenly started shaking and having heart palpitations. By the time we got back to my friend’s apartment, my boyfriend could barely breathe.  Terrified, we […]
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A Note on Love

Have you ever heard of National Love Note Day? Well, now you have. The world definitely needs more love letters and what better time to implement this idea to the most beautiful soul I know…my partner, my love, Raven. I had written her a letter in honor of this holiday; it turned out pretty well, in my opinion, and thought I would share with you: My Dearest Raven, From your child-like wonder, to your sense of adventure, to the sound of your laughter, makes my life more enriched, and makes my heart sing. One of my most favorite, sentimental memories of time spent with you illustrates all of those attributes.  It was about two years ago, I told you that I had a surprise for you, so I packed our bags, and without question from you, off to Orlando we went. After checking in at our delightful hotel that greeted us with chocolate chip cookies, we put our belongings away, and went out for a bite to eat.  After dinner, we were driving through the downtown Disney area, and you looked […]
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Who Needs the Red Carpet, Anyway?

Aaaah!  The Emmy Awards! If you’re anything like my best friend and I, you love to sit on your sofa with a fun cocktail in hand, watching the Emmy Awards, dreaming of the glimmering gown you’d wear, the handsome date you’d have on your arm and the highly-lauded acceptance speech you’d make when you no doubt won that coveted award. Ooops! Flash back to reality!  My best friend and I don’t often have the chance to watch the Emmy Awards together and we certainly NEVER have the opportunity to attend red carpet events.  We don’t get dressed to the nines and go out to sensational soirees with handsome hunks and superstar celebrities.  And we’re perfectly okay with that. Instead, we have our very own tradition involving a beauty salon, shopping and food.  Once every few months, we plan a girls’ day – just for us!  We’ve had a running battle every visit for years, with my best friend encouraging me to color my hair red and me trying to get her to cut her hair […]
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Master of Hispanic Art: Diego Rivera

Like most students in the U.S., foreign language was compulsory during my education.  Since many of my teachers thought this skill was unnecessary, I too saw my Spanish instruction as a chore.  As a gringa from Nebraska, I never imagined how or why I would need to learn Spanish.  Even my best friend whose family was from Mexico didn’t speak the language.  It wasn’t until high school that I found a teacher who wanted to convey more than just the language; she also wanted to share her Hispanic culture with her students. In the second week of the semester in 1999, my Spanish teacher assigned a project that would forever change my perception and understanding of Hispanic culture.  In honor of Hispanic Heritage month, we were to attend a cultural event or participate in a cultural activity.  My first reaction, like everyone else, was exasperation at the idea of more homework.  I turned to my best friend for help since she was heavily involved with the Spanish community. […]
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Honoring Service and Grandparents

When you’re a kid, grandparents serve as instant gratification for all things sugary and noisy. Mine were no exception. Grandma made Chef Boyardee pizza on the nights I slept over, and we all had chocolate-dipped cones at Fosters Freeze on Sundays. As far as I knew, grandpa was just grandpa. The grandpa who conspired with me to scare grandma or dad with a miniature cannon we periodically fired when no one was looking. The one who worked in the fireworks booth for the Lions Club and put on the best 4th of July celebrations ever  (even when one of the pyrotechnics went awry and left its permanent mark in grandpa’s perfectly-manicured lawn). The grandpa who put firecrackers on the cactus tips and blew the thing to shreds … with dad’s help, of course. I always knew my grandpa believed in serving his community, but it was my husband, Roy, who drew my attention to grandpa’s military service in World War II. In a keepsake letter for the family, and in my grandmother’s […]
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Sophie & Zoey Cafe: Coffee Can Shenanigans

Every once in awhile I come across a video that makes me smile continuously  for over a minute.  So, in honor of National Coffee Ice Cream Day, on September 6th, I share Sophie and Zoey's take on how to make ice cream using a coffee can. Sophie, a blonde pigtailed moppet who can barely contain herself,  has star power.  After a quick sound check, "check-check, check one-two," the video begins with introductions and an enthusiastic "Let's Make Ice Cream!" as only children can deliver.  I don't know what's cuter.  A three year old saying 'duct tape' or the mini fridge and stove.  Oh, and don't miss the family dog drive-by.  […]
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Coffee Ice Cream Dinner Party

I love ice cream.  Coffee Ice cream with hot fudge is the best - a lovely combination of buzz and sugar.  My friends are ice cream cool like me.  They like Pistachio, Jamoca, Pralines ‘n Cream and Rocky Road.  We often break bread together and of course end the meal with a scoop or two of our favorite or even a new flavor.  We are not, however, adventurous enough to try some of the flavors served by Ripley’s Believe it or Not on National Ice Cream Day.  At that event, Vera Chinese of the New York Daily News tried pizza, mustard and corn, and lox and mustard ice creams.  She reported that she and other brave tasters were not able to finish a cone of any flavor.  What a surprise. Back to Earth.  Back to my dinner parties. As I think about my dinner parties, I realize that I never invite vanilla or berry ice cream lovers or rainbow sorbet lovers for that matter.  My guess is that they would be hum-drum conversationalists.   Baskin Robins agrees.  They approached […]
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A Loaf of Bread, a Jug of Wine and Thou

Ah, the joy of eating “en plein air”, as the French say. The warm sun, a gentle breeze, a carefully packed picnic lunch, a bottle of something delicious, and of course the right company make for a perfect romantic interlude. I can think of no better way to spend a summer day then lying with my husband, away from telephones and computers, free of all the daily bothers that test our patience and fray our nerves in quiet, gentle lassitude. Nothing is more indulgent, simpler or sweeter than eating outside. It just feels so good. My husband and I have a long history of making the outdoors our dining room. When we were younger it was a stolen lunch hour in a city park on a bench under a tree. It was a chance to connect during our busy day, to talk and laugh about our work, our plans, our dreams. A short respite from deadlines and obligations had a rejuvenating effect and somehow the afternoons would be easier and less exhausting. We would kiss each other goodbye as we flew back to our […]
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Chicken & Waffles

There's no doubt about it.  Chicken and Waffles are on my top ten favorite foods list.  Stuck on a deserted Island I would have a waffle iron in tow as I hung onto the life saving driftwood.  As I paddled my way to shore there would not be a rationale thought in my head about an electrical source.  Of course I would peddle a rigged electricity-generating bike Gilligan’s Island style.  Oops!  Telling my age again. I was initiated in the fine art of this delectable dish when living in NYC.  Melba's in Harlem servers up perfection on a plate.  As I traveled, I was surprised that tot every restaurant gets right the union of the sweet from the maple syrup with the salt of the fried chicken, the soft airiness of the waffle with the crunchy fried skin.  Ah, heaven.  You should give it a go if you’ve not before.  I’ve tried quite a few recipes looking for the quintessential home cook version.  After ten or so experiments I found that Bobby Flay has the best recipe.  […]
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My Husband Has Wings

I complained a great deal about it. In truth, I was incessant about it.  I could have been justifiably placed in that most horrible of spousal categories; “The Nag”. Obsessed with the appalling state of our dilapidated kitchen, I could talk about little else. It is embarrassing to admit that even my dreams were occupied by such banalities as visions of ceramic tiles, stainless steel and backsplashes!  My dear, overworked husband would sympathize, always patient with my repetitious tirade. Then, he would return to his work editing and writing, trying to meet deadlines and keep abreast of financial obligations. He would gently remind me that there was neither time nor resources for a kitchen facelift. I had an opportunity to spend one-on-one time with my sister, who generously paid my way to the magnificent Italian island of Capri, where the glorious beauty and ostentatious wealth of the surroundings only exacerbated my longing for domestic renewal. However, when I spoke with my […]
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